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Old 10-11-2012, 01:22 AM   #201
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1989 32' Excella
Silverton , Colorado
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Wish that I had a lot more time. My floor repair is what I'd consider to be major. But fortunately not all that large and only in one area.Part of the problem is that winter is on its way soon. I'm just a few miles from the continental divide at 9318' in S.W Colorado. Need to get this fixed quickly and it must be strong and permanent. I scraped down my rusty areas on the frame and quickly painted it with Rustolium red primer. No major frame damage. Looks like the water only came in around the bumper box area. This was made worse by ants but they only seemed to go after the water damaged board. Think they are now all killed off but I'm still looking. Have two pieces of 3/4" marine on their way. Tomorrow the lower wall panels will be off around the whole damage area. That area is the back 52" of the trailer. I think I'm lucky that this Airstream hadn't been towed very much over the past few years other than me pulling it from Michigan to Colorado after purchase. Nothing seems to have shifted and there hasn't been any aluminum damage worth mentioning. I really appreciate the advice and pictures from this group. My repairs are looking like they will be successful and up to par with the original strength of the trailer or maybe even a bit better due to the fact that I'm not having to figure all this out on my own. Thank all of you.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:44 AM   #202
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Looks good Steve. Is that corner support going to get in the way of putting the corner wrap back on? It looks a little close. I guess yours is plastic like mine?

Perry
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:09 AM   #203
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It certainly does look good Steve. Thanks again for all the documentation. A Picture and your thousand words is invaluable!
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:19 AM   #204
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Very nice looking job.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:38 PM   #205
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Thanks for the kind remarks everyone. I like to do the documentation, but more than anything I want to pass on information that's been helpful to me to others. Reading the threads in this forum has helped me so much...so trying to do a good job on documentation is my way of paying back the community.

Perry, I'm actually OK on the way the corner braces have worked out. I'll have to add a couple of pieces of angle on each one to attach the aluminum corner wraps as they were quite long and boxy on the Limited.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:04 PM   #206
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I have never seen that sort of corner wrap. Looks like it is a leak producing enhancement of the bumper plate. You might consider eliminating the bumper plate going under the back of the trailer and figure something different out for the corner wraps. You can buy the standard corner wraps and use them. Worse case is you would have to bevel your new corner piece to make them fit. I think TOP got rid of the bumper plate as well. At least he left a gap there for water to drain. I have not finished that part of mine but I don't think it will be hard. I think I will have to extend the frame a little so the plate and hatch cover can sit a little farther towards the back. You have gone too far to let that bumper plate and the corner extensions ruin all your hard work.

Perry
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #207
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Thanks for all the kind comments everyone! This forum has been a wonderful source of information for me and I hope to pay back the Airstream community a bit by trying to do a good job in documenting this repair.

Perry, I do not plan to slip any metal (bumper cover or corner wrap or anything else) between the aluminum shell and the frame. I'm cutting out the excess metal with about a 3/8" gap between the shell and the bumper plate. Then I'm going to install a piece of aluminum angle across the width of the bumper plate on the bottom side to give it some rigidity back by not installing the plate between the shell and frame. I don't want anything to funnel water into the replacement plywood.

I laid an extension cord across the plate and used it as a guide to provide a setback from the aluminum shell to mark a pencil line for cutting with the jig saw. Note: the cord was held tight against the shell when drawing the line, not loose as is shown when I took the picture. I haven't done this yet, but I plan to do so.


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Old 10-12-2012, 06:03 AM   #208
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That sounds like a plan Steve. What you going to do with those funky side wraps? Are you planning to close out the back end with wraps so the water that comes through the crack won't go under the bottom skins?

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Old 10-12-2012, 07:25 AM   #209
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Perry,
The corner wraps will be seperated the same extension cord width as the bumper plate. I'll attach a couple of narrow sections of aluminum angle to each of the steel corner braces that I've made to attach the tops of the corner wraps. As I get this accomplished, I'll be documenting the process.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:36 AM   #210
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Ok Steve was not meaning to doubt your expertise just wanted to make sure you were not going to have anymore leak prone areas. I am as tired as you are of leaks due to factory design problems.

Perry
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:42 AM   #211
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No problem, Perry. Have a good weekend!
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:12 PM   #212
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That's some awesome documentation Steve...I believe that the factory original design has some areas for improvements...you are doing a great job at a well thought out method noting and enhancing them.

I don't see them as big issues if the trailer is well maintained but like we know, in the absence of that, we can make minor, proven, changes to improve!
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:18 AM   #213
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I'm still thinking of wrapping a strip of Tyvek house on the edge of the floor plywood. The house wrap would hang down far enough to give the insulation some protection. The top of it would sit on the carpet padding. The flaw looks like the screw holes that pass through every thing. Still looking at that flaw needing a solution. Hope you guys can visualize the idea.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:56 PM   #214
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Thanks Vernon.

Mark, I don't know how you could slip the Tyvek around the top/edge/bottom of the plywood and stick it all in the C Channel. I have some ideas on a sealing approach of inner portion of the U Channel area of the bottom perimeter extrusion and I may not try to seal the plywood at all so that when I does get a little wet, the moisture can wick out.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:59 AM   #215
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I think you should at least seal the end grain because that is a wick. I ended up coating my replaced floor with polyurathane on both sides. I think it hind sight I should have sealed the top surface and the edge and maybe the last inch or so of the bottom surface. This would allow any water in the wood to have air contact so it can dry out. Sealing the C-channel holes from the top and then a bead of caulk along the C-channel margin with the floor on the inside seems to work. I had some bathroom vent leaks and there was a puddle of water in the back corner of the trailer and none got to the floor. I went one step further in the front and installed drains in the C-channel and we have already talked about that.

I think another thing that is wise, is to not cover hidden areas of the floor so you don't have water collecting and being trapped by the floor covering. I am still finding small leaks because I have a bare painted floor right now and I can see leaks before the floor rots out.

Perry
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:52 PM   #216
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I have purchased 3/4" marine plywood for the replacement flooring. It looks to me like I'm going to have to trim it down to 5/8th to get it to fit into the channel. I'm working on the templates right now. I left the bolts on the opposite side of where I'm ready to install the flooring, in place for now. My plan is to brush a varnish on the flooring paying special attention to the edge. As far as the drilled hole go I don't have a sealing plan yet,but consider it a must do. All signs point to the leak coming from the bumper box. I've been wondering if anyone has tried using a wood moisture tester. If the prongs were sharp enough to poke through the carpet etc then it looks like a good way to find wet flooring and leaks. My water inlet looks like it hasn't leaked. Mostly it looks like the water got trapped in the insulation and caused the floor to rot. Nothing could dry out. To make matters worse the flooring had some kind of little Michigan wood ants in it. I found ant traps under the floor and have no doubt the last owners knew of the situation. I have all the old wood cut out and have spayed the crap out of everything else with Raid etc. I only paid 11,500 for this 32'Excella so I still got a great deal considering how nice it is. But I feel a bit let down that they didn't truthfully represent its condition. Oh well that's the way it goes and I would have bought it anyway. These Colorado prices are very high compared to back east. Now that I have a better idea of what this kind of repair entails I'm not afraid of doing it,pain that it is. I might consider picking up a older trailer with bad floors,cheap in the future. The pan off technique looks like the way to go if it's possible. This is sort of a field repair that I'm doing at this time without a shop or good place to work. The Tyvek idea might not work out if it gets sliced by the channel edges while the flooring is tapped into place. But I'm looking for some scraps and want to try it. Mostly it is intended to shield the insulation while not causing a place that holds water that can't dry out. I also want to make a place to put my exhaust from the dryer into while not drying clothes. I want a way to push some dry air through the belly pan and that looks like a good cheap way to do it. Normally I'll use an outside vent when drying clothes. Think I'll put it into the sewer hose storage compartment that is in a perfect spot. Just open compartments door pull the hose out a bit and let the wet air get blown outside. The last thing that I want is any more holes/vents etc that can leak.
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #217
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Perry thanks for the advice on sealing the end grain. Just so you know I've been around boats and all kinds of wood construction. You are absolutely right about end grain being a wick,especially with plywood. Many people don't think of wood as a bunch of tiny straws packed together. But that's what it is and it was designed to draw water all the way to the leaves on the tree. Gotta seal the end grain !
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Old 10-15-2012, 06:04 AM   #218
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Lee
Perry thanks for the advice on sealing the end grain. Just so you know I've been around boats and all kinds of wood construction. You are absolutely right about end grain being a wick,especially with plywood. Many people don't think of wood as a bunch of tiny straws packed together. But that's what it is and it was designed to draw water all the way to the leaves on the tree. Gotta seal the end grain !
......there is a marine product out there called Smith's CPES (Clear penetrating epoxy sealer) It is the go-to product for protecting areas where moisture could wick and/or pool. I have used it extensively in in full Monty boat restoration, particularly bilge areas. It is the same viscosity as water, and truly penetrates, along with improved adhesion of top coat paint or West System. We get ours from Jamestown Distributors in Rhode Island. It is not cheap, but as you are finding out, a floor replacement is something you probably want to do only once per trailer! Good Luck!
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:20 AM   #219
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The problem is when you drill hole into the wood it bypasses the water barrier coating. Then the coating is sealing in the water. Sealing penetrations through the wood from the top is a wise idea as well as sealing the wood.

For example, running a sheet metal or bigger screw through the C-channel through the floor without sealing the head from the top is a bad idea. Also sealing the C-channel to the floor is a good idea so water can't get under the C-channel and find its way into the wood that way. Drains in the C-channel are also a good idea and we talked about that a little earlier on in this thread.

Steve is making a lot of improvements to his trailer that are new and some that are a result of all that he has learned while he has been on these forums. I have learned a lot here. I think he will have a good solid trailer when he is done.


Perry
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:21 PM   #220
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Question '93 Excella 1000 Rear Floor Repair - HELP!

In July, we bought our first trailer and became instant card-carrying members of the floor rot club. I've learned so much through Steve and Perry's Excella floor threads and am very thankful to both of you. You guys are awesome.

BTW, I snapped my bolts off from above to the level of the nut, used a punch to score the center, and drilled them out with increasing diameter bits from above. The nut kept the drill bit centered. The tops simply dropped to the floor underneath. Worked great and was fast. No damage. Stopped drilling as soon as the nut was free.

I'm in the process of replacing 7' of the rear floor. My vents looked just like Steve's except some dolt tried to seal them with tar. I've replaced every vent on top, resealed the refrigerator vent, replaced missing rivets, sanded, cleaned, and have PORed the exposed frame from above. Made the templates out of luan as demonstrated by Perry. Used exterior grade ply and made my first scarf joint.

I just knocked the first section in place and checked fit. The fit was good, so I'm ready to put in my insulation. Some PO bottomed out the curb side skid like yours Steve, but did not wrinkle the panel just bent the belt opened the joint slightly. I've removed the banana wraps and found the c channel damaged on the ventral support rail. The bolt pulled through the lower rail hole of the c channel. I suspect it happened when it was bottomed out. When I removed the belt, I also noted there is a stress crack visible in the c channel.

I'll attach a photo. It does not pass all the way through to the top rail. I'm thinking of making a template of the c channel on both sides and having a distribution plate made. I suspect I should also have a support plate that runs up and is attached to the inner skin as Perry did for front end separation. Physics wise though, I realize that the presence of intact subfloor is going to significantly reduce the stress to every attachment point. The top of the c channel is intact. What do you gentlemen recommend?

Sealing the new wood.... I'm a little concerned about using something that's approved for indoor use. My little ones will be sleeping back there.

What would be the effect of running a thick bead of trempro 635 into the c channel right before you slam the plywood home? Bad for the drain holes but their value is questionable. There is also a product called Redguard at home depot. Pricey but two layers of it supposedly waterproof flooring.

I have some rot doctor that I could apply to the outer edge of the ply as well. Sealing the new sub-floor is obvious but what to use and where, is not as straight forward. Agree that preventing water entry is key and I'm planning on resealing all windows, replacing seals on everything, hose testing, and eventually pressure testing. I'm trying not to cut corners but my husband and 5 kids really want to go camping. Appreciate any advice. I'm disheartened as Steve has been in the past but trying to hold onto some bull dogged determination.

Thanks,
Cristina
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